Hook Scholars Program Applications Welcome

Hook Scholars Program Applications Welcome

Edward W. Hook Scholars in Humanities and Ethics

Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities 
University of Virginia School of Medicine

Program description

The Hook Scholars Program in Humanities and Ethics* complements the four-year undergraduate medical curriculum by providing a humanities, bioethics, and arts pathway through the four years of medical education. Each year, the program selects as Hook Scholars up to four first-year medical students with demonstrated interest and/or accomplishments in the humanities, bioethics, and/or the fine and performing arts and who wish to keep such interest active, aligned with, and applied throughout their medical studies. Hook Scholars become a vibrant part of the life of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities (CBEH), which provides an organizational and operational framework and mentoring so that scholars can integrate their humanities, bioethics, and arts pursuits into their medical education and professional identity formation.

Specific features and expectations of the program are described on the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities’ website ( http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/community-service/centers/biomedical-ethics-and-humanities) under Hook Scholars Program.

* The Hook Scholars Program is named in memory of longtime UVA Department of Medicine chair Edward W. Hook MD (1924-1998). He was a celebrated clinician, investigator, teacher, and national medical leader who inspired others to understand disease, doctoring, and health in terms of culture, geography, ethics, economics, psychology, and politics as well as the biological sciences. Dr. Hook sought to train better, more humanistic doctors by helping medical students and residents develop and deploy core clinical competencies of observation, reflection, moral awareness, and compassion. While chair of Medicine, Dr. Hook created the medical school’s first faculty position in biomedical ethics (John Fletcher PhD, 1988). When Dr. Hook retired as department chair in 1991, he founded and directed the Program of Humanities in Medicine that preceded the present Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities.

Program goals

  • To promote research and scholarship linking medical humanities, bioethics, and arts interests to skill sets that
    • improve patient care (e.g., listening, attention and observation, communication, perspective-taking, compassion, creativity, narrative medicine, moral awareness, self-reflection)
    • improve teaching (e.g., in-depth knowledge of humanities and bioethics resources and research methods and arts practices),
    • advance public and global health (e.g., cultural awareness, Spanish language facility, historical insight, knowledge of religious/spiritual traditions)
    • inform public policy, community service, and leadership (e.g., emotional intelligence, interprofessional teamwork, appreciative inquiry)
  • To promote careers for physicians in medical humanities and bioethics and to encourage physicians to pursue scholarship and creative arts practice that address matters of health, illness, and well-being


Program expectations

Each Hook Scholar will

  • be assigned and for four years meet regularly with a CBEH faculty mentor
  • in the summer following first year, develop an individual scholarly research project, to be initiated in residence at CBEH and with CBEH faculty supervision, under auspices of UVA’s seven-week, NIH-sponsored Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) [CBEH faculty must approve any alternative and/or nonresidential activity during this first summer]
  • in fourth year, complete an independent research project (or arts portfolio) of potentially publishable quality and extent during elective time (up to eight weeks) in residence at CBEH and present it at a Hook Scholars gathering before graduation
  • also in fourth year, spend at least four (and up to eight) additional weeks in humanities/bioethics elective courses, including a two-week capstone Hook Scholars Program elective
  • attend CBEH meetings, retreats, and activities
  • participate in the vertical community of Hook Scholars, with opportunities to model for and mentor one another as well as to develop learning and service projects
  • join CBEH faculty in planning and offering curricular modules, co-curricular programming, and Medical Center Hour programs
  • be a CBEH ambassador-at-large, thereby promoting CBEH programs and interests across the medical school and medical center
  • advise CBEH on ways and means of involving more medical students in the center’s scholarly and service missions

And CBEH will offer the Hook Scholars

  • membership in a robust community of UVA scholars specializing in biomedical ethics, humanities, and the arts as these relate to health and illness, medicine, and medical education
  • a faculty mentor in the student’s interest area across all four years of medical school
  • resources in the center, including the lending library and study/gathering space
  • special seminars, activities, and retreats
  • interactions with visiting scholars



We now welcome applications from members of the Class of 2017. To apply, please provide the following:

  • a 1-2 page letter of intent (Why do you want to become a Hook Scholar?)
  • a sample of your undergraduate work in bioethics, humanities, or the arts (e.g. an analytical paper or original creative work) or a written reflection on your medical school experience thus far)
  • your undergraduate transcript
  • a list of no more than five undergraduate courses or extracurricular activities related to the interests you bring to the Hook Scholars Program, with (optional) a sentence about the relevance of each
  • a letter of support from someone (an undergraduate professor?) who can speak knowledgeably about your commitment to bioethics, medical humanities, or the fine or performing arts


Application packets must be submitted electronically to Carrie Gumm in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities (cg2b@virginia.edu) no later than 12:00 midnight on Monday, 2 December 2013. Questions? Contact Dr. Daniel Becker (dmb2y@virginia.edu) or Professor Marcia Day Childress (woolf@virginia.edu).



The Hook Scholars of the Class of 2017 will be announced by 15 January 2014.